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Rally New Zealand, in a bid to further foster Kiwi rally drivers on to the world stage, will offer scholarships for two drivers to compete in the New Zealand round of the FIA World Rally Championship.

Rally organisers have been granted two wild card entries to start in the Production Car World Rally Championship class which will be contesting round 5 of their 8 round World Championship in New Zealand.

"In the past we have given young New Zealand drivers a start in the event," said Chris Carr, chairman of Rally New Zealand.

"That's been a tremendous experience for them, although they have been seeded at the bottom of the order and never really got to be part of the international action.

"Last year two of them were able to line-up with the best drivers in the world in the PCWRC class. Richard Mason and his co-driver Sara Randall showed the benefit when they finished an incredible 10th overall and second in the PCWRC behind Jari-Matti Latvala and Miika Anttila who have gone on to compete strongly in the World Rally Championship this year."

Applications are now open for the two slots with current New Zealand Rally Champion Mason a strong contender for one of the spots.

Others likely to be in contention include Rally Scholarship winner Dean Sumner (Rotorua), Rally Whangarei winner Hayden Paddon (Geraldine), Emma Gilmour (Dunedin), Manawatu driver Sam Murray, Auckland's Mark Tapper and possibly 2004 New Zealand champion Chris West, who is planning a return to the championship scene.

The winners will be announced at the Rally New Zealand promo day on 15 July.

You can be a part of the action at Rally New Zealand - join the RallySport Magazine fully escorted tour for five days of first class rally spectating.   Download the tour brochure here.

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